Oil is an essential, and often underestimated, ingredient that's vital for in recipes. Choosing which type of oil to put in a recipe will greatly affect its outcome. Two of the most popular oils used are vegetable and olive oil, but what's the difference between them? When should you use vegetable oil vs olive oil, or vice versa? Let me break down these two oils for you, so you choose the best one to include in your future recipes.

Vegetable Oil vs Olive Oil

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Betsy Chilcoat

Vegetable oil and olive oil come from two different sources. Vegetable oil is made from plant sources like seeds and nuts, while olive oil is made from the olive fruit. This causes a difference in the oils' smoke point (the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke at).

Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so it's better to use when cooking at high temperatures. On the other hand, olive oil has a lower smoke point, meaning it's best to use for medium to high heat purposes.

When it comes to taste for vegetable oil vs olive oil, vegetable oil has practically no taste, which works well when you want all the flavor to come from the recipe. Meanwhile, olive oil, especially extra-virgin olive oil, is more likely to disrupt a recipe's flavor because it has a very distinct taste. However, some chefs like olive oil specifically because it adds a certain flavor to a dish.

When to Use Vegetable Oil

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Jessica Kelly

Vegetable oil should be used primarily for deep frying and stir-frying. It's a basic universal oil that can be used in almost any recipe. Plus, vegetable oil is relatively cheap, so it's the best option to get if you're on a budget.

If you're looking for the perfect snack to make with vegetable oil, try this healthy veggie chips recipe.

When to Use Olive Oil

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Betsy Chilcoat

While olive oil may seem very similar to vegetable oil in regards to the fact that it's a universal oil, olive oil is typically used in fancier dishes because of the flavor it can add. It's also more expensive than vegetable oil since it comes from a fruit.

This lemon olive oil cake recipe really showcases the flavor olive oil can bring to a sweet dish.

To simplify the question of when vegetable oil vs olive oil should be used, try to remember a few things: vegetable oil is a universal oil that should be used when cooking at high temperatures, and olive oil is an oil that adds flavor that should be used when cooking at medium temperatures.